Archive for January, 2012

Cold Front Moving Through…
January 31, 2012

A cold front will continue to move throughout the area by Wednesday morning.  The front is forecast to hold up across the Ouachitas for Wednesday afternoon, and the front will provide a focus for some storms.

A disturbance aloft could spark off some scattered showers and storms across the Ouachitas during the late morning and afternoon.  Most of that rain will stay south of I-40.  Southern LeFlore, Scott, and Polk counties will be in the best position to see the storms.

Drew Michaels

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Better Agreement…Storms Not Snow Likely On Friday
January 31, 2012

The computer models are finally coming together and it isn’t good news for snow lovers. Heavy rain and thunderstorms are likely Friday evening as a strong storm system will dig and track northwest of the area. This will keep us way to warm for snow. In fact there is a better chance for severe weather than accumulating snowfall. At this time, it appears there won’t be a ton of instability, but if that changes the potential for severe weather will go up. Regardless, small hail and gusty winds are possible with some of the storms late on Friday. Cold air will still rush into the area by Saturday but most if not all of the precipitation looks like it will be out of our area by that time. It is hard to believe that we are in the depth of winter and there is no winter weather to be found. There is a chance we could sneak out of the winter without any measurable snow for parts of the viewing area…but we still have about 6 or 7 weeks to go before we are in the clear.

Ross Ellet

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Thunderstorm Potential for Tuesday….10 p.m. Update
January 30, 2012

Mild and breezy tonight as temperatures fall into the lower 50’s.  Low gulf stratus will continue to roll north overnight into Tuesday morning.  Highs on Tuesday will climb into the 60’s on breezy southerly winds. 

It’s a tricky temperature forecast with the stratus deck.  If the sky turns partly cloudy during the afternoon, temperatures could soar into the 70’s!

A cold front is still expected to arrive between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. Tuesday evening.  Instability and limited moisture return will limit the chance for deep convection. 

Isolated thunderstorms are expected with the passage of the cold front; however, severe thunderstorms are not expected for Tuesday night.  Some storms may produce small hail and gusty winds.

Drew Michaels

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Cold Front Tuesday Night….Showers & Storms Possible
January 30, 2012

We will continue to enjoy unseasonably warm temperatures for both Monday and Tuesday thanks to a southerly flow at the surface.  Those south winds will also transport low-level moisture back across the area tonight and into Tuesday.

A cold front is forecast to arrive for Tuesday evening.  Ahead of the front dewpoints will likely climb into the upper 40’s and lower 50’s.  The deepest moisture will remain across the Ouachitas.

The atmosphere will likely remain quiet until the arrival of the front.  The front will act as a focus for isolated showers and storms between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.  (Tuesday). Not everybody will experience storms.

Storms that do develop could produce quarter size hail and strong gusty winds.  Isolated strong to marginally severe storms are possible.

Drew Michaels

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10:30 AM Update – Wintry Mix Possibility / Model Disagreement Ahead…
January 30, 2012

Well as Drew and Ross mentioned, there’s both the chance for a rain/snow mix as well as a great deal of model uncertainty regarding what’s going to happen late this week and into the weekend. Let’s start out with the Euro computer model, which keeps our potential system held up to our West (ooz run) into the weekend. The Euro has shown so many run-to-run inconsistencies involving timing, strength, precipitation, and temperature that you MUST take this data with a great deal of caution, as confidence remains low and significant changes could occur by the next run. The GFS (I hate to say it) is not much better. The GFS does a better job of moving the system further East (somewhat) than the Euro computer model, but there of course is an issue when it comes to how far North / South the system will go. The 06z run has the system further North than the 00z run, impacting both temperature/precipitation, and of course you don’t want to forget about this one…precipitation type. Keep it here for updates because I promise you, more changes are on the way. Let’s hope for some consistency ahead!!

Matt Devitt

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Tricky Late Week Storm Could Bring Snow
January 29, 2012

The forecast is about as wishy-washy as it gets. It will stay warm over the next few days but after that an upper level low will move into the area sometime between Friday and next Monday. The computer models are very inconsistent. They keep showing a storm impacting the area at the end of the week, but the timing and storm track are all over the place. Here is one track the models have been showing.

The track is northwest of I-44 and this track would keep the area very warm. Not only will it be warm, but rain and even thunderstorms would be the main precipitation across the area. However, the models are showing a few other possible tracks. The one below probably interests the most people.

At least a few solutions show a developing storm tracking well to the south and east with significant amounts of cold air in place. If this were to happen, then it is almost a slam dunk that a snowstorm would deliver the first widespread snow accumulations of the season. However, this is just one possible storm track and just about anything is possible. The storm is only about 5 to 7 days away but our confidence level on this storm is similar to what it would be on a 10 to 14 day forecast…not very high! So what does this mean? There is a chance for snow late this week, there is also a chance it will just be rain. Regardless, you are going to see some changes to the current forecast over the next few days as we get updated and more accurate weather data. Stay tuned!

Ross Ellet

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12Z GFS Hinting at Snow for Next Saturday…….
January 28, 2012

Well the 12Z GFS wants all of the snow fans out there to get excited for some winter weather.  As usual it’s the outlier, but it’s a fun scenario to watch. 

The GFS cuts off an upper level low across the central plains by next Friday into Saturday.  The cold air is forecast to wrap around the low by Saturday morning.  The upper level support breaks out wraparound precipitation saturday morning into the afternoon. 

 The GFS is showing several inches of snow across northeastern Oklahoma and northwest Arkansas in this scenario.  The River Valley would have a chance to see snow, but the majority of the QPF is north of I-40.

The European is not on board with this scenario; in fact, the Euro keeps the upper level wave over the desert southwest. 

I’m just putting a 30% chance for precipitation for next Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  There’s way too much uncertainty at this point.  I want to see this particular scenario over the next several runs.  Stay tuned.

Drew Michaels

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Saturday Night Backyard Astronomy
January 27, 2012

The clear sky for Saturday night will give us ideal conditions for some backyard astronomy.  Look to the western sky around dusk to see the Moon, Jupiter, and Venus aligned together.

Behind the Moon and the Sun, both Venus and Jupiter are the brightest objects in the night sky.

I read an interesting explanation from earthsky.org

” Venus has the highest albedo of any planet in our solar system. Venus is so bright partly because it reflects over 70 percent of sunlight striking it. It owes its reflective ability to the fact that it’s blanketed with clouds. Sunlight bouncing from these clouds is what makes Venus so bright.”

You learn something new everyday!

Drew Michaels

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Cold Front Moves In Tonight
January 27, 2012

Our next weather maker moves in tonight in the form of a cold front. High clouds will move in this morning to mix with sunshine. The sky will become partly cloudy this afternoon. The front itself will move in around 7pm tonight. This will allow temperatures to warm up nicely today. A sprinkle or two is possible this evening along and north of US 412, but the chance of rain is only 20%. Tomorrow will be cooler with highs in the upper 40s and low 50s. However, the dry air will keep the weekend sunny and highs will warm back into the 60s early next week.

Ross Ellet

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Storm Spotter Classes……
January 26, 2012

I just want to get some of these classes on your radar, yes, pun intended!  These classes from the National Weather Service are a great way to learn more about storm spotting safety and storm structure. 

The first class is scheduled at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.  The class will be held at the Engineering Building Room 282.

The second class will be held at the Emergency Management Building in Fort Smith.   

Classes are free and they usually last a couple of hours.   

Drew Michaels

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